California Pipeline Spill Estimate Increased


Published Aug 7, 2015 5:28 PM by The Maritime Executive

Plains All American Pipeline has indicated that around 40 percent more oil spilled from its ruptured California pipeline than it previously estimated.

A presentation given with the company’s quarterly earnings call indicates that the May 19 Santa Barbara spill released up to 3,400 barrels of crude, about 1,000 barrels more than current estimates.

Reuters reports that the company has initiated an external review of its estimate calculations, and Chief Executive Greg Armstrong said the company’s quarterly results included a $65 million contingency loss as a result of the spill and pipeline shutdown. The rest of the cost, $192 million, will be covered by insurance.

Meanwhile, Californian authorities have started legal action. The Central Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board has referred the matter to the California Attorney General for judicial enforcement.

The spill caused damage to marine wildlife and the environment and triggered ongoing cleanup and restoration efforts. Nearly 100 miles of beach was polluted.

State law allows the Attorney General to seek penalties of up to $25,000 per day of violation and $25 per gallon of oil spilled.

Earlier this week, the Center for Biological Diversity formally petitioned the U.S. federal government to inspect all pipelines off the coast of California for corrosion and other damage.

Preliminary findings indicate that the spill was caused by extensive corrosion of the pipeline that carries crude drilled and transported from offshore platforms and pipelines. The findings also suggest that the pipeline had corroded to a much greater extent than federally required reports from the company had indicated, says the Center.